I want to write my experience and ask for insight as to whether my ex was a narcissist or just selfish. I am confused because he seemed so caring at times but my therapist believes he has NPD. My mother and sister are both narcissists and I have struggled / worked for years on how to have relationships with both of them with very clear boundaries, of course! Because of my history, I felt I was very aware of the signs and could spot a narcissist a mile away so I was totally surprised when my therapist suggested my boyfriend was a narcissist. How could I miss the signs?
Here's my story:
I met my ex online. He was 7 years older than me, said he had been divorced for 20 years, he has 4 kids. He is a a lawyer has a big executive job (I have a big job as well) and I felt like we were at least equals in our professional lives. In the beginning we saw each other anywhere from 1-3 nights a week. We had a lot of fun together. He would take me out to dinner and always pay. We did not sleep together for 2 months until I felt we knew each other. The stories he told me about his ex-wife were a little bazaar. He said she was uneducated and made her sound as if she was completely uninterested in her children's lives or his life. He said she never cleaned, he said she was 10 years older than him and did not care about taking care of herself, etc. He said they married because they were catholic and she had gotten pregnant after 6 months. He stayed with her until the youngest kid graduated from high school. He said they never cheated on each other just that he had wanted more from life. He said while he went through the process that he saw a therapist. Now I am not so sure this is all true. He had 3 relationships since his divorce, one with a woman who was in her early 20's (he is in his 50's), he could not tell me why it ended but that they just stopped talking - weird even though he said she wanted to take him to meet her father. He dated 2 other women (says one was 6 mo's and one was maybe a year), one of which he called a bunny boiler because at 5 months into the relationship he says he did not call her one night and she called him 20 times and then called his brother, whom she had never met, to make sure he was ok. Knowing what I know now, I think he pulled a disappearing act out of no where and completely upset her. The other relationship was with a woman for maybe a year. He said he broke up with her because he did not love her and saw no future. I asked him if it took a whole year to determine he did not love her and he said no but that she was a nice person to hang out with. He said he felt a little bad that he laughed when he broke up with her because she was so upset that she started throwing all his stuff on the ground and he thought she was being dramatic like in the movies.
We had a lot of fun together but I believe he had an alcohol problem because we drank a lot together. I accept that I have my own alcohol problems but I wanted to mention it.
He always took me to dinner, always paid, always held my hand, had no problems kissing me in public. Seemed very attentive and caring. He was always concerned with what he was supposed to wear (I thought this was weird for a guy) but he was not a big talker with other people. He seemed to like to listen to people and gather information but did not need to be the center of attention. He did not seem to treat people badly. He did often tell off-color jokes or make comments about people we saw on the street (Spanish, black, jewish, women etc.) but never directly to them or within earshot.
While he was in charge of enforcing the ethics/conflict rules in his company he seemed to not think they applied to him. He used his brother to run the investments for his company which was a big conflict of interest. However, he often talked about people he saw being unethical -such as paying for personal dinners on the company. He made it seem like he was the most ethical person I had ever met.
I have a rescue dog who needs a lot of training and he would come to his training sessions. This seemed so nice to me. Although he never seemed to care much about my dog. If we got home late, he would go to bed and let me go walk the dog by myself in the dark in NYC.
For my birthday, I wanted to spend the night at a hotel and go to dinner. I asked him to spend it with me. He agreed but later tried to cancel so he could golf and asked if I wanted to come and hang out at a club while he golfed. I said no so he did go golf and came and met me later. He said he bought me a birthday gift but had forgotten it. I brought it up once and he pointed to a bag and said its right there if you want it but I haven't wrapped it. I told him I would wait. I never got it.
Then for July 4th I asked him if we could go to DC - I offered to pay for the hotel and he said we could split it. He never offered to settle up.
After this, he started texting / calling less. I started asking him why and he said he was too comfortable. I asked him if we could talk on the phone once a week. I got upset that we could not connect and then he said he would call me the next day and I said I was going to be busy. I think he got mad - he later admitted it but then recanted. I noticed he untagged himself in our photos on facebook and told him I was upset and wanted to talk then he disappeared for the weekend. No explanation. I sent a text a few days later telling him I was upset. He acted as if he didn't realize it would upset me since we hadn't made plans for the weekend. Although we had spent every weekend together for 5 months. I was devastated. He didn't seem to understand why I was so upset about it. I should have left at this point.
Then 2 weeks later, we went to an event where we were both drinking a lot. He was staring at another woman right in front of me and joking with his friend about how beautiful she was. Then when we were leaving he thought i should carry his stuff on a shuttle bus and wait for him while he walked back with his friends. I said I would not and so he got on the bus with me but refused to sit with me in front of his friends.
He also started making comments that were not nice - I had to ask him if he thought I looked nice ( I Knew I did - the newspaper had even asked to photograph us as socialites) and he said he didn't notice things like that. I asked if his friends asked about me when I wasn't there he said "why would they, he was wild and single". There were other times when I felt like I could be any woman / warm body and he would not notice the difference. I could not put my finger on it. He also told me that I was the top of the age range he would date (although I was 7 years younger but looked 10 years younger). I once asked him to go to a movie with me and he told me to have fun without him. He said he hated movies. I said I often did things with him that he liked even if I didn't and he said he appreciated that.
Despite all of this, when we were alone, we always had fun and enjoyed each others company. The sex was always great. After the event where I felt disrespected, I tried to break up with him. I told him I was looking to get married and settle down with someone and he said he didn't want that. I thanked him for his honesty and cried and he held me. Then I said I had contemplated taking a break and he jumped at it. He really wanted the break. We took one and he reached out a few times being so sweet. We met once during the break and he told me he had a difficult time with it etc. So after a month, we talked and decided to try again and he was going to work on his communication with me. For three weeks, he seemed better at texting and calling (even if I had to ask him - he still did it). However, he couldn't seem to find the time to see me in person. He made time to take me and my sister to dinner when she was in town and had asked to meet my mother when she was here. I told him until I was more confident I did not want to introduce him. He said he felt we would be in sync by the next time she came. Then a week later, he finally said we could go out one night. However he made no plan. Then I sent a text saying "since I haven't heard from you, should I assume we have no plans"? He asked why I would say that. I said because we never made a plan. Then I apologized and said I had been having a rough week but was looking forward to seeing him. He completely ignored me. AFter 3 more texts, I looked online and saw he had put up his dating profile again. I was so upset. I texted him it was not fair to leave me hanging and he replied that he was going to go home, he would call me later and that apparently, his lack of planning was too much of an issue. He never knew I saw him online. I was so upset. Why would he have taken the break or even "tried" again? I tried to call him. There was no answer. Finally I sent him a break-up text that was very nice saying how much I had really liked him but it seemed we could not find a middle ground and while I was sad about it, it was probably best to consider breaking up and being fiends. He never responded. How hard is it to respond? If he wanted to find someone else it seems like it would be a relief I was letting him off the hook. It was so hard to not even get a reply. I also unfriended him on facebook so he couldn't keep tabs on me.
I have been no contact since (2.5 weeks) with the exception of 1 text at two weeks asking him to return something I had left at his apartment. He did respond to that saying he would send it. No telling if he really will.
So what do you think? Just selfish or narcissist? What confuses me is that in person he always seemed so nice and did not need to be the center of attention when we were out. He seemed supportive of my career and intelligence and never seemed to make overtly demeaning comments to me. (Maybe covertly). I don't want to jump to narcissist just to make myself feel better - if he is really just selfish.